we had the proud pleasure of watching our daughter graduate from college this past weekend. (the second of our three children who’s off into the world with a college diploma in hand) there are few pleasures more satisfying for a parent.
i vividly remember how it was after our first one graduated from college and how much she had changed in four short years. growing up is exponential it seems. (even though) i still refer to our kids as kids (because they are our kids), that doesn’t translate into treating them like a kids. each one is clearly their own person. competent, smart, funny, skilled, thoughtful and interesting. how cool is that?
they also eat a lot more stuff. picky eaters at home turn into more adventurous eaters when they get out on their own in the world. maybe they just needed to get hungry enough?
e is off to color guard for phantom regiment drum corps (if you don’t know drum corps, you gotta see what these kids do http://youtu.be/6ohpy3jvqpw that’s just a taste) she’ll be back in august to start pounding the pavement for a job. i’m not too worried, she’s resourceful.
so, we just finished year 8 of college tuition payments. for the past two years we had two tuition payments at the same time, now we’re back down to one. it feels like a vacation. it will mean a vacation for c and i in the fall.
kudos to any parent who says that shouldering college tuition payments (and we didn’t shoulder it all) is easy. that’s a parent who either inherited money, didn’t help their kids at all, or is (some kind of wonder of genetics) someone who saved enough in advance instead of signing up for the ‘pay as you go’ plan. for all three of ours, we used (are using) a hybrid of saved, inherited, pay as you go and student loans they are responsible for.
i didn’t have student loans to pay after i graduated from college. i went to a public college (ucsd) and at the time there was no tuition, only fees. my father died when i was a sophomore in high school and my mom struggled. i never asked her for money, never even thought about it.
i went to college because of one of those (now resented) entitlement programs (social security) and a series of unfortunate jobs.
of course, times have changed. i remember writing checks for around $735 per quarter for fees. (the university of california system had no tuition in those days) books were about $100 – 200 a year. personal computers hadn’t been invented yet. ditto for cell phones. (we all shared a hard wired phone and someone (usually the person who used the phone the most) always stiffed the rest of us on the bill.) i scored a victory because i hung out with the tech guys who rigged up a line for long distance calling. calls were free. they were also public. i had to sit on the hallway floor in the computer building to call home.
my two bedroom furnished apartment (i shared with a roommate) was $100 a month. it was a dump. i remember spending $20 – $25 a week for groceries. gas was expensive (for the time) but i didn’t drive much.
furnished apartments came with black and white tvs. there were no dvrs, no cable, no internet, no cd players/recorders. i had a sick stereo system (all separate components) and three big milk crates full of albums. the speakers didn’t have click in connectors like now, i had to wire and unwire the speakers to the receiver every time i moved, strip the plastic off and retwist the wires when they got too frayed.
i still have most of the albums. i rebought the good stuff on cd or downloaded it from itunes. all my music plus a huge amount more doesn’t even fill my three year old ipod.
i moved back home after college. my sister made fun of me, years later never let me forget it. any (all) of ours are welcome to move back in after college until they get on their feet. (their siblings better not ridicule them)
i don’t have any great parental wisdom about all this, just reminiscing.
we’re so proud and we’re looking forward to seeing what comes next.